Automatic cars change gear for you as you drive. If you want to hire an automatic car, you can specify this when you book. Automatic rental cars are available worldwide. They are common in some countries, such as the US and Japan, but more unusual in others, such as Spain and the UK.
You can choose the type of gears you want when you hire a car. If you pick an automatic, the ‘or similar’ car options will be other automatic cars of a similar type. Hire cars have ‘or similar’ next to the make and model you’re looking because rental companies change their fleet frequently, and they often don’t know precisely which cars will be available.
In countries where automatic cars are the norm, renting a manual car can be more difficult as there are fewer available. It’s the opposite in Europe, for example, where it is rarer to find a wide range of automatic cars to rent.
However, you can still rent an automatic car almost everywhere in the world.
If I usually drive a manual car, can I rent an automatic?
Yes. People who drive manual cars will find an automatic takes a little getting used to, but it is legal for people used to manual cars to rent and drive automatics. Rental companies will freely hire automatic cars to people with manual/regular driving licenses.
If I usually drive an automatic car, can I rent a manual?
Usually not. When someone hires a car, the rental company will check what kinds of vehicles their license allows them to drive. If someone took their driving test in an automatic car, their license will probably stipulate that they can drive only automatic cars.
If someone’s license does not limit them to driving only automatic cars, they can legally rent a manual car. However, manual cars can be difficult to get used to swiftly. There are safety issues involved with driving a car with gears that are unfamiliar. Driving a manual car incorrectly can damage the clutch and engine, which can cost large amounts to fix.
Suggested automatic cars: Volkswagen Passat, Volkswagen Arteon, Skoda Octavia
You can rent cars of all types with automatic gears. So if you’re after a mini, compact, estate or SUV, you’ll be likely to find them all with automatic gears. Certain types of cars, such as people carriers or luxury cars are often more likely to be automatics, even in countries where manual cars are more usual. Have in mind that automatic cars tend to be more expensive to hire where manual cars are the norm (and vice versa).